OPINION: 5 great book recommendations by popular genres


“One of Us is Lying” book cover.

DJ Stover, Commentary Writer

As an English major, I love to read. I’ve been a hungry reader my whole life, hand me something with writing on the page and I’ll spend some time looking at it (if I’m not knee-deep in homework).

Reading is one of the hobbies I enjoy the most. Whether I’m happy that my favorite character got a good ending or sad when a character I adored passes, there’s always something about the joy I feel and the imaginative approach the writer uses to cause that.

I know that everyone reads, not just English majors, so here are my top five book recommendations from five genres.


Personally, this is one of my favorite genres, so I’ve read a lot of books pertaining to it. One book in particular sticks out though: “One of Us Is Lying” by Karen M. McManus.

In “One of Us Is Lying,” five students walk into detention, but one student, Simon, mysteriously dies of an allergic reaction after drinking a cup of water. Afterward, the police rule his death not as an accident, but as a homicide.

Throughout this book, McManus dives further into the idea of how far you would go to protect your secrets. With suspense in every chapter, gripping and emotional scenes and the “whodunnit” behind Simon’s death, the novel is a classic recipe for a mystery book.


Thriller is another favorite genre of mine, and one of my favorite authors who writes great thriller novels is James Patterson.

James Patterson is mostly known for his many fiction thriller books, but there’s one non-fiction book of his I read recently that I enjoyed, “All-American Murder.”

“All-American Murder” is about the life of former New England Patriots NFL star Aaron Hernandez. From Hernandez’s childhood, college years and first assaults, from his first murder to prison and ultimately his early death, James Patterson tells it all.

What makes this book a great example of a thriller is the use of suspense. Starting from the beginning of the book, you’re immediately pulled in when Patterson introduces Hernandez. In each chapter, there is always something at the end that makes you want to read the next, and that makes for a good thriller novel.

True Crime 

“Zodiac” book cover.

True crime is my second favorite genre, thanks to my mom’s influence, and at this point, it’s become a hobby of mine. 

There are many books that catch my eye as I stroll through the true crime section of the library. One book that stuck out to me, and that I’ve now read, was Robert Graysmith’s “Zodiac.”

As you can guess from the title, “Zodiac” is about the Zodiac Killer, the infamous serial killer who terrorized citizens of the San Francisco Bay area in the 1960s and 70s.

It’s a true crime for obvious reasons, but I think the use of suspense, the true details surrounding each murder and assualt and the mood of the book contribute to what makes it one of the best true crime novels.


Fantasy is one of my least favorite genres out there, but if there’s one book series that paved the way for the genre and one that I hold close to my heart, it’s Harry Potter.

J.K. Rowling tells the epic story of a 12-year-old boy who grows up to call the wizarding world of Hogwarts his home as he and his two other best friends cast spells, face magical monsters, go on adventures and train to defeat the evil Voldemort and his army.

With magic, dragons and adventure in every book, Harry Potter makes for a fantastic fantasy series. 

Science Fiction

When you hear science fiction, you immediately think of space, time travel, aliens, advanced technology or something along those lines, and there are many books that portray those topics.

One book in particular that I enjoyed that deals with space and space exploration is “The Martian” by Andy Weir.

The story follows an astronaut, Mark Watney, as he becomes stranded alone on Mars and must improvise in order to survive.

Watney is faced with problems that pertain to his survival in every chapter of this novel. Whether it’s trying to cook potatoes, his HAB exploding or making an attempt to travel 2,000 miles to the Schiaparelli crater in order to escape the red planet on Ares 4.

What I like about this novel is that all the science in the book, the calculations and the mishaps, are all scientifically accurate, which makes the story even better.

I hope the next time you think about what to read next, my list helps you make that important decision!

Commentary writer DJ Stover can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @DeJayeJJ.